Set Up Innovative Marine’s Helio PTC Aquarium Heater Right the First Time!
Innovative Marine PTC heaters provide redundant protection against overheating. Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) technology essentially means the heating element uses solid-state ceramic chips to produce heat as opposed to resistance wires like traditional heaters. These ceramic chips are programmed to only reach a particular predetermined temperature, reducing the risk of overheating. Combine that with their smart controller which constantly regulates the heating elements and the option to use dual heating elements and you get one of the safest and most reliable heater systems available to aquarists.
- Factory Preset Temp: 77°F
- Factory Preset Low Alarm: 74°F
- Factory Preset High Alarm: 80°F
- Temp Set Range: 59°F to 93°F
- Low Alarm Range: 57°F to 93°F
- Low Alarm Minimum Range: -2°F from Set Temp
- High Alarm Range: 60°F to 96°F
- High Alarm Minimum Range: +1°F from Set Temp
- Accuracy: ±1°F
- Resolution: 0.1°F
- Calibration Range: ±9°F
How To Install and Setup The HELIO PTC Heater
1. Connect Probe & Heater
The first step is to connect the titanium heating element and temperature probe to the PTC Smart Controller. The controller has three connections, one small for the temperature probe and two larger ones for the heating element(s). Once attached, you can then install the magnetic mounting brackets to both the temperature sensor and heating element(s).
2. Mount Probe & Heater
Placing your temperature sensor and element in the tank can be done in a few different ways depending on your particular tank. See the user manual for some diagrams. Ideally, you want your temperature sensor in the display itself and the heater in your filtration or sump. That said, you can place the temperature sensor in your sump as well, just place the sensor upstream of the heating elements. This ensures the entire volume of water in your tank gets up to temperature and avoids unnecessary on/off cycles.
Remember the elements and sensor need to be fully submerged at all times so avoid areas where water level fluctuates like the return pump chamber.
3. Mount Controller
The PTC Smart Controller should be placed somewhere that is convenient to access and away from moisture. Outside of your stand, on a controller board, or on the wall/cabinet next to your tank is the most common locations.
4. Plug It In
Once everything is mounted, you can plug it in to apply power. The heater is preset to 77° F along with preset alarms a few degrees above and below that setpoint. Therefore, you probably won't need to make any modifications unless you wish to adjust the temperature of your aquarium water.
5. Temperature Settings & Alarms
Should you wish to reset the temperature, the process is simple. Just reference the PTC Heater User Manual, programming instructions start on pg. 22.
Pro Tips: When adjusting the temperature, the PTC heater will automatically save after 3 seconds of no activity; no save button is required. The audible alarm can be toggled on/off via the switch on the side of the controller.
Temperature calibration should be checked regularly using a separate NIST-certified thermometer. Using a separate thermometer, measure the temperature in your tank. Compare that with the temperature reading on the PTC controller. If you see any variance between the two readings, you can adjust the calibration (User manual pg. 23) on the PTC Smart Controller using +/- increments of 0.1°F to account for that variance.
Example: Using the NIST certified thermometer, your tank temperature measures 76.3°F. Looking at your PTC Smart Controller measuring that same tank, it shows 77.1°F. You would want to set a variance of -0.8°F so the controller reads an accurate temperature based on your NIST certified thermometer. It is not uncommon to see small variances (up to +/- 2°F) between thermometers.
7. Error Codes
The PTC Smart Controller will display an error code starting with an "E" followed by a number. The Error codes are defined on pg. 26 & 27 of the user manual with detailed explanations. Should you experience an error code, be sure to reference this section and make the necessary corrections.
Example: Error Code "E2 - Elements not connected". You should check the connection between the controller and your heating elements; unplug and reconnect them to ensure proper connection.